No. 8 USC Takes Down Arizona State in Three
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Nov. 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES - USC hitters dominated from the outside as the Trojans' eighth-ranked women's volleyball team (24-5, 14-4 Pac-12) completed a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-15, 25-21) of Arizona State (18-12, 7-11 Pac-12) at the Galen Center on Sunday, Nov. 24. Freshman outside Elise Ruddins led the way with 14.5 points and collected 14 kills (2e, 26att) with a .462 hitting percentage.
USC out-hit its opponent for the 26th time this season with a .244 hitting percentage (50k, 20e) on 123 attacks. Arizona State finished the day with a .100 hitting rate (27k, 15e) on 120 swings. The Trojans kept the Sun Devil attack at bay thanks in large part to senior Natalie Hagglund who put up 23 digs for match-high honors. USC out-dug ASU, 67-46.
Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu had 11 kills (4e, 25att, .280) and collected eight digs and three blocks. Sophomore outside Samantha Bricio put up 10 kills (7e, 32att, .094) to go with nine digs and a pair of service aces. She now has 70 on the season and is just the fourth player in Pac-12 history ever to reach that mark in a single season.
In the middle, senior Alexis Olgard had six kills (0e) on eight swings for a .750 hitting percentage and led all players with five blocks. USC's setters shared the load as freshman Alice Pizzasegola dished out 22 assists and junior Hayley Crone had 19 to go with five digs.
For the Sun Devils, no player reached double digits in kills or points, but Whitney Follette had six kills to top all players (3e, 17att, .176). Entering the match, Macey Gardner ranked second in the Pac-12 with 4.53 kps but the Trojans held her to just four kills in the match (4e, 28att) and a .000 hitting percentage. Gardner did lead her team with 14 digs and had three blocks. Setter Bianca Arellano had 23 assists and eight digs.
The Sun Devils grabbed the first point of the match, but USC scored three straight and never trailed the rest of the first set en route to a dominant 25-15 win. Arizona State hung around and was within a single point until Hagglund went back to serve three straight points and stretched the Trojan lead to five at 13-8. Out of system, Nwanebu dug up a shot that Olgard set to Ruddins for a kill and a 15-9 lead. Ruddins took a set from Pizzasegola and went crosscourt for a kill and an 18-10 lead. USC really put the pedal to the metal and pushed ahead by 11 points, 22-11, with a 4-0 run on kills from Olgard, Ruddins, and senior outside Sara Shaw. The Sun Devils fought back but could only save a few more points before Nwanebu's cut shot earned the final point of the set. USC hit .278 in the opening frame on 36 swings (16k, 6e) and held the Sun Devils to just 9.5 points with six kills (5e, 35att) and a .029 hitting rate.
The Trojans wasted no time creating a lead in the second set and rolled out to a 7-1 lead as Ruddins collected her ninth kill of the night. Ruddins had three kills in four rallies and took sets from Olgard and Hagglund in the process. The Sun Devils had an answer and fought back to get within three points at 13-10 but Bricio put a stop to the ASU run as she bounced a shot off the floor for a point. Bricio tooled the Devil block for a 17-12 lead and went back to serve. Her ace put USC up, 19-12, and sparked a final run for the Trojans who put away the 25-15 win for a 2-0 lead in the match. USC hit .214 in the second set with 16 kills (7e) on 42 attempts and outpaced ASU's attack which was held to .075 with eight kills (5e) on 40 swings.
Adjustments at the break helped the Devils claim an early lead in the third set, but the Trojans wrestled it away with a 5-0 run spurred by a kill from Olgard. Ruddins went down the line to tie the score at four-all before Bricio's second service ace put USC up, 7-4. The Trojans maintained a three-point lead at 11-8 when junior middle Hannah Schraer knocked down two kills in three rallies, but ASU never slowed down and came back to knot the score at 12 and then took a three-point lead, 18-15, on a USC error. Ruddins tooled the Devil block for a kill and got the Trojans going again as USC went ahead, 20-19, on Bricio's kill. Nwanebu went crosscourt for another kill and pushed the Trojans out to a 22-19 lead and Bricio's kill made it 23-20. Nwanebu got together with Olgard to stuff a Devil attack for a 24-20 lead. A long rally went ASU's way as the Devils saved one match point but Nwanebu went crosscourt one last time for her 11th kill of the day to seal a 25-21 win and the 3-0 sweep for her Trojans. USC logged 18 kills (7e, 45att) for a .244 hitting percentage in the third set while ASU had 13 kills (5e) on 45 attempts to post a .178 hitting rate.
The Trojans sew up the regular-season schedule next week and play the first of two matches midweek with a trip to face crosstown rival UCLA (14-13, 5-12 Pac-12) at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Calif. The Trojans and the Bruins take the court at 7 p.m. PT in a match scheduled to be broadcast regionally by the Pac-12 Networks.
USC then returns home for the regular-season finale against Colorado at 2 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 29. The Women of Troy will honor seniors Sara Shaw, Natalie Hagglund, and Alexis Olgard in pre-match ceremonies when they face the Buffaloes. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule and results.